Now, its time for the City to move it forward. But there’s a problem and that’s why we’re asking you to please get involved.
The City hasn’t as yet taken the necessary next steps with the Plan and meanwhile, a seriously large monster has entered the room and is confusing people.
The energy giant NRG is putting a lot of money and lobbying effort into leaning on the Mayor and City Council members to consider selling Austin’s share of the Fayette coal plant that our City co-owns with the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). NRG is asking Austin to buy into NRG’s expansion of the South Texas nuclear project. This would do nothing to Phase-down Fayette coal plant. Fayette would keep burning and selling to the grid. And we would have a huge financial burden and dangerous risk in buying into more nukes.
This is a terrible idea and not a part of Austin’s Generation Plan. Austin City Council must hold steady with the plan that they created and committed to.
To bring on Austin’s clean energy future, each of us must play a role! You can let City Council know what you think and you can also write a letter to the Austin American-Statesman or Austin Chronicle.
Write your letter today!
Here are some of the forward-thinking reasons we like the Generation Plan that City of Austin is already committed to —
- Reduces Energy Demand by 800 megawatts by 2020 through Energy Efficiency and Conservation
- Increases On-Site Solar and other Renewable Power to get more of our electricity from wind, solar, biomass and geothermal resources
- Phases-down Fayette Coal Plant
- Requires a technical and economic feasibility Study to phase out coal completely by 2020 or sooner
- Creates a follow-up strategy to publicly evaluate Austin’s energy plan every 2 years
Much careful thought and broad-based input went into the City’s adoption of this plan. Before committing to the Plan, Austin City Council took recommendations from:
- Austin Energy
- The Generation Task Force, comprised of industry and community representatives
- Austin’s Electric Utility Commission
- Austin’s Resource Management Commission, and
- A series of Town Hall meetings and other public input opportunities.
This is what Democracy looks like!
The new Austin Energy General Manager Larry Weis, to his great credit, is ready to implement the plan. He said so in this Austin Chronicle article and when he addressed Austin City Council this January.
The big confusion is around the myth that nuclear power is a global warming solution. It is not. There are greenhouse gas emissions associated with nuclear power. Worse still, uranium mining pollutes groundwater, nuclear power production emits radiation and holds the serious threat of catastrophic accidents, there is no safe way to dispose of the waste. Economically, nuclear power is an enormous boondogle that no one has tried for 30 years because of the huge cost overruns. We cannot afford the nuke on many accounts — both for public health and the economy. You can learn more here — http://www.sierraclub.org/energy/factsheets/basics-nuclearpower.pdf , or here, http://nukefreetexas.org/ or here http://nirs.org/
There are many reasons why we also don’t want to continue burning coal for electricity. Here are Sierra Club’s reasons. Physicians for Social Responsibility can tell you about Coal’s Assault on Human Health. The Clean Air Task Force pinpoints specific health costs of the Fayette coal plant. Environmental Integrity Project can tell you about the coal ash ponds contaminating the water in Fayette county.
Its not an either or proposition that NRG is making. The NRG proposal — which, did I mention, does not fit into Austin’s Generation Plan, would leave coal burning and polluting at the Fayette plant, just not owned by City of Austin. Our neighbors in the Texas Pecan Alliance would not appreciate that.
It would also make it more possible for NRG to forge ahead with their ill-conceived plans to expand the South Texas nuke Project (STP).
To get more involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Sierra Club office to find out about the meetings to Phase out Fayette and to promote Solar Si, Nuclear No — 512-477-1729.
— Donna Hoffman,Communication Coordinator, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club